Albee quit as an animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation to go live in a cabin in the wilderness of Alaska. Here he created the animation he’d been wanting to make for years, and he did it alone, on two PC workstations.
He wanted to prove he could make an animated feature for $10 million in 18 months (apparently turning down offers from studios to make it at triple this figure out of prinicipal). So in six months for $5,000, using Lightwave, he created a 23-minute demo, Kaze: Ghost Warrior.
He explains how he did it in the Making of Book:
CGI Filmmaking: The Creation of “Ghost…
Albee shares his tips to achieve the 3D masterpiece in the bestselling book:
LightWave 3D 8: 1001 Tips and Tricks
“I knew I couldnt spend hours fine-tuning facial animation or body language. The idea was to work on a shot up to the point where I felt the animation was carrying the performance across, no longer. Some will consider that this is rough animation, but I had 2,000 shots to animate in six months. Thats 28,000 frames! The only way I could pull this off was by devoting four hours, no more, to any single shot. The aim was not to create perfect shot after perfect shot. It was to produce a film that worked well enough as a whole to allow audiences to fall into the world, believe in the characters. It was to convince investors that the Kaze feature film was doable for the amount of money and in the amount of time that I was asking for.”
The experiment has paid off in spades. Albee has signed a deal to create not one but two feature films, a computer game and TV series based on his experiment.